Planning a wedding? Or an elaborate party for your child’s first birthday? Maybe a milestone birthday for your spouse? You’re probably hiring vendors either without a contract or without reading the contract before you sign. While most vendors are legit, here’s what to look for in vendor contracts in case of a disastrous experience.
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I’ve read a lot of parenting articles and books in my four short years of being a parent, and I’ve concluded that if they’re (mostly) fed, (sometimes) bathed, and (generally) not in harm’s way, I’m doing an okay job.
I came across a few articles and posts about positive parenting (here, here, and here), and it intrigued me enough to consider how I could apply it in my life. There is a broad spectrum of what is considered positive parenting tactics from simply removing corporal punishment (which we haven’t used before) to super crunchy versions that include never saying the word “no” and praising everything a kid does. Everyone can find their happy place on that spectrum. For me, it was simply about trying to change some of my habits in an attempt to see if I could get a different (better) outcome. I’m not a total drill sergeant as a parent, but I’m definitely not some zen yogi patiently humming quietly to myself and smiling through my toddler’s next-level tantrums.
Adjusting to life as a mom is difficult for anyone, but for moms with a Type A personality, it can be downright sanity altering. I’ve learned to mostly laugh my way through the chaos, but sometimes it feels like my family does things just to see if I’ll break. My kids are like little torturers, testing the limits of my sanity and regularly putting a check on my perfectionist personality.
My kids were never human garbage disposals, but my daughter did, at one point, eat more than just [organic] chicken nuggets and french fries. I mostly blame myself. Because I hate cooking, I stick to easy, tried-and-true meals. After a long day at the office, I just don’t have the energy to fight her on it, so I feel very responsible for her picky palate.
And I am not exaggerating when I say this girl is picky. There is literally not one vegetable on this planet that she will willingly eat. NOT. ONE. I can’t even get her to eat the pouch purees with both fruit and veggies. She only wants the fruit and yogurt ones. I guarantee my kid is pickier than yours.
Any working professional, parent, or adult can tell you they have a lot going on. Life is busy and we move quickly. Working parents, in particular, are in a constant state of context switching between professional, parental, and household responsibilities, and it creates serious overload. It sure helps to have a supportive partner, but there is plenty of research that suggests women take on a lot of the “noticing” about all the little to-dos and it can be overwhelming. I tried to explain it to my husband once, and all he heard was that he’s not pulling his weight (which he is), so it was very reassuring when I came across this article a few months ago.
But what’s a working mom to do when you just can’t shut off the noise? And even if you could, what about all those to-dos that still need to be done? Below are some tips for managing (and coping) with the working mom overload.
Running a household is a lot of responsibility. Most of us delegate out some household work to third parties like housekeepers, gardeners, or babysitters and nannies. And most people tend to pay cash for these and think nothing of the relationship. But in California, these are usually classified as domestic workers and are subject to various tax and employment laws.
I’m at that weird time in life where I still need a lot of things for my kids but maybe not enough to fill a diaper bag. Since I work full time, I don’t typically carry my diaper bag with me–I don’t want it to sit in a hot car all day with snacks, sunscreen, and diaper rash cream going bad. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself picking up the kids from daycare and going straight to dinner and being caught without a diaper, a sweater, or a pacifier for an overtired baby. Since using my diaper bag as a purse isn’t an option for me, (although there are really great ones out there today that could, theoretically, work for some professionals,) I found a nice middle ground for transitioning from full-time diaper bag to a regular purse.
My first move was to think about all the things I could potentially need on an emergency basis and separate those from things I regularly use.
I have a special hatred for making lunches. It’s hard enough for me to get anything made for my kids, let alone for me to make something to bring to work. I’m a special case because not only do I dislike cooking/food prepping, but I also can’t stand the idea of eating the same thing three days in a row or prepping the same meal every other week. My sister is a pro at this. She basically has a rotating menu of about five go-to meals, and that works for their family. But if I made chili two weeks ago and ate it for lunch and dinner three days in a row, I’m not making chili again for two months.
I set out to do this challenge to save money, eat healthier, and prove to my stubborn self that I can find a way to inject variety into my meals even when I’m not eating out at restaurants. So how did it go? Well, it was a mixed result.
It was 10:45 pm on a Thursday night. My husband was out of the country on business since Sunday. There were two days left in the fiscal year at work and I was slammed. The baby was teething. The toddler was being a contrarian about everything. I was exhausted. And I was lonely. Not just I-need-a-hug-from-my-husband-or-a-friend lonely. Lonely in a deep, deep place. I felt lost. Overwhelmed. Like no one understood me. No one knew what it was like to be me. In that moment. Drowning in a sea of responsibility and expectations.
I looked over at my nightstand to check the monitor to see if I finally won the battle of getting the toddler to bed and a book caught my eye. It was a novelty item I was gifted. A parody of a children’s classic. I had flipped through it once and set it down, not knowing whether it was something that should be placed on the bookshelf, re-gifted, or frankly, tossed in the trash. And an idea struck me.
I’m totally late to the podcast game. My husband has spent years mentioning different podcasts he was listening to, and I just didn’t have an interest. But one day, while driving to work, I was listening to some morning radio and realized what complete trash it was–both the talk and the music. Although I’m sure I could have found a better station, I decided that I’d look for some podcasts instead. I picked up a few based on some quick internet searches at work, and I’ve added to my queue mostly through recommendations.
I listen to podcasts on my way into work (less so on the way home since I have the kids in the car), at the gym, while doing dishes, folding laundry. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in interesting and relevant topics when you can’t necessarily sit down and read a book or article. I listen to mine on the pre-loaded podcast app on my iPhone, but my husband prefers Overcast.